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Race, Power & Politics – BOOK REVIEW by Kam Williams

Jae Alan



Race, Power & Politics: Memoirs of an ACORN WhistleblowerRace, Power & Politics:

Memoirs of an ACORN Whistleblower

As told by Marcel Reid

to Michael McCray, Esquire, CPA

Foreword by Tom Devine

American Banner Books

Paperback, $19.99

364 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9846906-7-1

Book Review by Kam Williams


“There is a lot to learn from this book. If you are feeling cynical and discouraged that you can’t fight the powerful, read it! If you want to learn the tactics of effective guerilla activism, read it!

If you want to learn the intricacies of how corporate abuses of power can threaten our families’ bodies and health, read this book! If you want to feel the price of hypocrisy, read it!”

— Excerpted from the Foreword (pgs. iii-iv)


The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, aka ACORN, was founded in 1970 with the goal of attaining higher wages, better education and decent housing for the poor. Over the years, the activism-oriented non-profit operated mostly under the radar, gradually growing into a formidable force to be reckoned with by virtue of its half a million members and over a thousand chapters spread all across the country.

Yet, the charity collapsed in just a matter of months in the wake of a damaging video shot with a hidden camera by a couple of conservative bloggers posing as a pimp and a prostitute. Released to the press in the fall of 2009, the deceptively-edited footage appeared to show street-level ACORN employees being tricked into instructing the visitors how to cheat the IRS.

ACORN had only garnered national attention during the previous year’s presidential campaign when candidate Barack Obama’s work as a community organizer came to light. Most people blame the controversial grassroots outfit’s subsequent demise on its being targeted by Republicans because of the critical role it played in getting out the vote for the successful Democratic candidate.

However, according to Race, Power & Politics, there were already plenty of signs that ACORN was on the brink of imploding on its own. A persuasive case is made in this “as told to” memoir dictated to African-American attorney Michael McCray by fellow, former board member Marcel Reid, a whistleblower who ostensibly knew where the proverbial bodies were buried.

Apparently, in spite of its longstanding image as an advocate for the disadvantaged and disenfranchised, ACORN was pretty much riddled with corruption from top to bottom. At the upper echelon, you had flamboyant executive Dale Rathke padding his expense account with pricey flights on the Concorde, $2,000 a night suites at the Waldorf-Astoria, $700 meals at fancy French restaurants, and shopping sprees at luxury boutiques like Gucci and Neiman Marcus. By the time that crook was finally terminated, he had embezzled about a million dollars.

Meanwhile, even some rank-and-file employees treated ACORN like a personal ATM machine, such as the secretary who thought nothing of having her hair extensions done right in the office on company time. A shameful tale of wholesale hypocrisy at the expense of the poor apt to have Saul Alinsky, the godfather of community organizing, spinning in his grave.


To order a copy of Race, Power & Politics, visit:

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A Look Inside New African American Museum in DC

Jae Alan



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U Street Urban History

Jae Alan



A Look Back At U Street And Historic Washington DC

The images seen here are from Arcadia Publishing’s Greater U Street book by Paul K. Williams, published in 2002. It is available at local bookstores and retailers.

If you would like to purchase a copy online CLICK HERE

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Talking Hands Incorporated will host a workshop for modifying toy cars for children with disabilities | Saturday, Dec 10

Jae Alan



Talking Hands Incorporated will host a workshop for modifying toy cars for children with disabilities

Prince George’s County Maryland. ¬– An Oregon State University professor will help volunteers, families and clinicians such as physical therapists modify toy ride-on cars for children with disabilities at a workshop on Saturday, December 10, 2016 in Prince George’s County.

The “Go Baby Go” program provides these modified toy cars to young children with disabilities so they can move around independently.

Sam Logan, who heads the Go Baby Go project at Oregon State University, will lead the workshop, which is being hosted/sponsored by Talking Hands Incorporated. Talking Hands Incorporated is
501 c 3 non-profit organization which educates, supports, advocates, and provides resources to families with special needs children.

The event will run from 9 am to 4 pm, and cars will be tested by the children around 2pm. The modified toy cars will be donated to Early Childhood Center in Prince George’s County.

The modified cars give children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other mobility disabilities a chance to play and socialize with their peers more easily, said Logan, who is also an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU.

Being pushed in a stroller or being carried from one place to another is fundamentally different from having active control over one’s own exploration, which is where the developmental gains are seen, he said.

There are no commercially available devices for children with mobility issues to get around on their own; and power wheelchairs usually aren’t an option until the children are older. The modified cars provide them independence at a much younger age and at a relatively low cost.
Please consider sponsoring a modified toy car for $200. Or consider making a tax deductible donation to Talking Hands Incorporated so they can continue serving local families and children.

Note to editors:

Images and video are available:
Video from a past Go Baby Go event:
A digital image of a child using a Go Baby Go car:

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